Community Psychology: Subjectivity, Power, Collectivity

For us, the dominant, ubiquitous, mainstream version of community psychology discussed, which is widely claimed by its proselytizers to promote wellness; liberate; promote social justice; and to ‘empower’, is actually, as Seedat et al. assert, characterized by ‘discriminatory approaches’, ‘hegemonic and epistemological domination’, and ‘an accommodationist position seeking greater influence within the mainstream fraternity’ and does not challenge the ‘restrictions and outcomes imposed by exploitative economic arrangements and dominant systems of knowledge production’, instead drawing on the mainstream Anglo-Saxon positivist modernist psychological disciplinary tradition, literatures, and frames of reference, rather than critical ones. It is problematic in all the above respects but, compared with Marxist and Foucauldian versions, most problematic because it is a re-inscription of a superficially liberalized version of the mainstream psy-complex, ‘the heterogeneous knowledges, forms of authority and practical techniques that constitute psychological expertise’, with its origins in the United States, indeed, a version of psy which may turn out to be integral to governmentality through subjection and compliance in the twenty-first century under a neoliberal order.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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